Fish Type: Cod (AYCE) Price: $20.00
Overall, I would not recommend this Fish Fry.
|Fish Score: Fair|
Potato Score: Good
Tartar Score: Good
Bread Score: Poor
Miscellaneous Score: Good
Comment: Our first visit to the Thirsty Goat showed a lot of potential. Sure, it was a sloppy affair, but the food tasted good, and in the end that's all that really matters. On that day we had the lake perch, but knew we had to return for the AYCE cod sooner or later. Later finally rolled around...
The first thing you'll notice about the AYCE at the TG is the price tag. Like most people I had sticker shock when I realized I'd be paying $20 for cod, but I thought if it was good I could at least get close to my money's worth. Unfortunately, it wasn't all that good, and the Goat got the better of me this time around. For starters, two gigantic pieces come on the first plate since apparently "it takes a while it you order more." So in reality they just bring you "All You Can Eat" on the first round which, in my opinion, this is never the way to run an AYCE since I don't want one piece sitting there getting cold and soggy while I work my way through the first one (which is exactly what happened). The best AYCE Fish Frys serve smaller pieces with a higher fish to batter ratio, and don't bring you all you can eat all at once. As far as the fish itself, it was served in long pieces - Irish Pub style, with a thick beer batter. The golden colored batter lacked flavor and oozed grease to the point where the underside of the first piece was a soggy mess about half way into piece #1 (don't even ask about piece #2). The cod itself was slick but still had some flake so it appeared to have been of decent quality at one point.
Since the Goat is a BBQ joint they have a ton of sides to choose from and I settled on the house-cut fries and the mac-n-cheese. The fries were the real deal, but had an odd texture. They were kind of airy or foamy, almost like packing peanuts. I'm not sure exactly how that happens (oil too hot? too cold? not soaked long enough?) but in the end they were still decent when slathered with salt. The mac on the other hand hit most of the right notes with it's creamy consistency and better than the box flavors. NOTE: the box is available on the kid's menu so the fact they do a homemade version is a definite plus.
Thickly battered fish wants, no needs, a thick tartar, but the Goat's goo was on the thin side. The average-sized cup also ran dry before I even made it though the first piece of fish and our waiter never even came back to see if we needed more so needless to say the second piece of cod merely got picked at with the bulk of it coming home in a box. Adding insult to injury was the fact that there was no bread, and while that's becoming all too common in 2018 it still doesn't make it any less disappointing.
I had high hopes for the AYCE at the Thirsty Goat but unfortunately it just wasn't meant to be. The cod missed the mark as did their method of getting you all you can eat. Overall, we don't recommend this Fish Fry and will fall back on the crumbly perch if we return.
3040 Cahill Main
Madison, WI 53711